A Superior Court judge will allow a candidate in next week’s Trenton City Council runoff election to remain on the ballot as Jenna Figueroa Kettenburg,

Robert Lougi, a Mercer County judge, denied a bid by another South Ward candidate, Damian Malave, to remove her from the ballot and prevent her from running as Figueroa Kettenburg in the upcoming election, and dismissed Malave’s entire appeal. Malave also unsuccessfully tried to postpone the December 13 election to January 24.

Malave argued that Figueroa Kettenburg was not the real daughter of Edwin Figueroa, who died in 2018, and sought to use his name to gain votes in a district where 67% of the electorate is Latino.

Figueroa Kettenburg accused Malave of his dog-whistle tactics and personal attacks on her parents and “blended families.”

“Edwin Figueroa is the only father I’ve ever known. “I’ve always been told he’s my biological father, and more importantly, even if he’s technically my stepfather or just my mother’s partner of over 35 years, the fact is he’s my only ‘Known’ father,” Figueroa stated. Kettenburg in court records. “From my childhood, through elementary school, middle school, and high school, he was the father who was always there until I left home for college, and every time I visited the house throughout my early adulthood while he , unfortunately, did not die when I was 38 years old.”

Figueroa Kettenburg presented several documents to Mercer County Judge Robert Lugi to show that she used the name Figueroa professionally, even though she is registered to vote as Jenna L. Kettenburg.

“My love for the only father I ever considered my father is the reason I proudly use the name Jenna Figueroa Ketenburg,” she said.

Question about what name she sought to use in her campaign for the South Ward council seat may not have mattered. Figueroa Ketenburg’s attorney argued in court documents that the deadline for Malave to contest nominating petitions in Trenton’s nonpartisan municipal election was long overdue.

Lugi did not give any reasons for his rejection of Malava’s request.

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